I came to faith in Jesus Christ at 18. I was baptized during my freshman year of college and was quickly embraced by a loving church that showed me Jesus, allow me to fall in love with Jesus, and walked beside me as I followed Jesus.
Shortly after my baptism, Dennis invited me to meet with him at his home on Monday nights. Along with a small group of young men, we read, memorized, and wrestled with the Scriptures. Dennis poured his life into me and was a spiritual mentor when I needed it the most. I owe Dennis a tremendous spiritual debt.
The first Scripture passage that I memorized with Dennis has continued to play a crucial role in my spiritual development. It has been 13 years since I first put it to memory but its power remains.
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
– John 15:1-5
True vine? Jesus
Gardener? God, the Father
This a powerful image. Jesus is the life giving vine and we are the branches. Fruit is expected.
Two things can happen from there.
What happens to those who don’t bear fruit? Cut off
What happens to those who bear fruit? Pruned (so that they may bear even more fruit.)
Cut off or pruned. Both are painful. Which do you prefer?
Drink deep of what is being said. If you bear no fruit – you are of no use. In this metaphor – it is better for you to be cut off and thrown aside. Some of you have been there, done that, and have the t-shirt.
If you bear fruit – God works in you, through you until you bear more and more fruit. God expands your worldview, explodes your comfort zone, and explores your fullest potential. Painful at times – but so much better than the other option.
The sole source of bearing fruit is to remain in Jesus. There is no other way. Apart from Jesus – we can do nothing. We must remain. We must abide.
What does that look like?
And when you do – you bear fruit.
More on remaining in Jesus in a post to come.